A Complete Guide to Parotitis

You have salivary glands in your mouth which empty secrete saliva through ducts that open into your mouth. You have three pairs of salivary glands, which include parotid gland, the two largest glands located in each cheek; submandibular glands, located on each side of your jaw at the back of your mouth; and two sublingual glands, located under the floor of your mouth. Sometimes, one or both of your parotid glands will become inflamed and cause a condition called parotitis.  Parotitis can be chronic (persistent inflammation with periods of remission and flare-ups) or acute (severe inflammation that resolves in a short time). It is important to know the symptoms and causes of your inflammation to be able to select an appropriate parotitis treatmentoption.


The symptoms will be different in case of chronic and acute parotitis. For instance, you will notice tenderness, redness, and swelling with pus draining into your mouth when you have acute parotitis. Chronic parotitis may cause dry mouth, swelling around your parotid gland, milky secretions, chills, fever, and foul taste in your mouth.

In case of HIV parotitis, you will notice non-painful swelling of your gland. You may end up developing chronic autoimmune parotitis due to sjogren syndrome or mikulicz disease. In chronic nonspecific parotitis, you will experience episodes of painful inflammation that may last for several hours to several weeks. If you're experiencing serious symptoms such as a high fever and difficulty swallowing or breathing, you should call 911 immediately and seek immediately medical attention.


You may have to deal with parotitis due to several different reasons. It is important to identify the underlying causes in your case to determine the best parotitis treatment option.

You may end up getting inflamed parotitis glands due to viral infections such as mumps. Although mumps can affect different salivary glands, they usually involve parotid salivary gland. The good thing is that mumps are not that common, all thanks to the availability of the MMR vaccine. You can, however, become a victim of another bacterial infection, which could be the result of a poor oral hygiene, blockage due to salivary duct stones, smoking, and insufficient amount of water in your body.

You may end up developing chronic parotitis due to several risk factors. You may experience transient swelling of your parotid gland due to the overuse of drugs such as guanethidine or iodides. Stenosis of the duct or stone formation may as well be the reason behind your recurring bacterial parotitis, but sometimes, you develop this condition due to an autoimmune disease. Similarly, dehydration with stasis of salivary flow can be the underlying cause of your acute parotitis.


If your symptoms aren't severe, you don't usually need any parotitis treatment.Your condition will improve over time and the issue will resolve on its own.

You can avoid parotitis by taking certain self-care tips. For instance:

  • You should always practice good oral hygiene and brush your teeth at least twice a day. Don't forget to floss daily to prevent and clear infections.
  • Use saltwater to rinse your mouth regularly. Simply add half teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and use it to rinse your mouth. This will ease pain and accelerate healing.
  • Quit smoking while you're trying to recover from parotitis. Smoking will slow down healing.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water and liquids to keep your mouth moist and to encourage the production of saliva. You can also use sugar-free lemon drops to reduce swelling.
  • You can massage your gland gently with heat to reduce discomfort.

In some cases, the symptoms may be severe or your doctor may have to resolve an underlying issue to fix your problem. Whatever the case, your doctor may decide to use the following treatment options.

  • Your doctor will examine your condition and determine if it's due to a bacterial infection. When you have a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection. You will also need to take antibiotics if you have a pus drainage or fever. There is no need to take antibiotics if you're experiencing this issue due to a viral infection.
  • There is usually no need to go see your doctor when you have mumps. It is highly unlikely that mumps are the reason why you're experiencing parotitis, but if that is the case, you will have to wait for the condition to go away on its own. Be sure not to get into contact with others for a couple of weeks from the day you get mumps. You can infect other people, so stay isolated for some time.
  • Sometimes, small salivary stones can lead to the inflammation of parotid gland and cause parotitis. You may have to undergo a surgery in this case that usually involves taking out those stones with a probe. Sometimes, an extensive procedure is required to get rid of larger stones. Under certain circumstances, you may be left with no other choice but to have your parotid gland removed. This is usually the case when you have many salivary stones.